In 2016/17, The Government of Uganda successfully introduced into its government statistics measures of multi-dimensional child poverty based on those lacking socially-perceived necessities. This important development has enabled the Ugandan government to identify specific areas of deprivation suffered by children to strengthen the delivery of basic services and to more effectively target resources where needed.


The research – led by the University of Bristol and the University of Cardiff, in close collaboration with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and UNICEF Uganda – first identified the socially-perceived necessities. These covered including health care and education, a social and family life, clean and safe drinking water, housing that is not squalid and overcrowded, adequate clothing, and regular meals with sufficient and nutritious food. First, sets of item specific to adults, children and households were developed from 60 focus group discussions commissioned by UNICEF Uganda and conducted in 2017 as part of development work associated with the Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) module on consensual deprivation.

These items were then included in a module in the national household survey. First respondents were asked for each of the items if they thought the item was essential for an acceptable living standard in Uganda today.  Only those which are considered essential by a majority are seen as socially-perceived necessities.  
The survey then gathers information about the extent of deprivation. For each of the items, it asks whether the respondent has the item and if not whether this is because they don't want it, can't afford it or don't have it for some other reason. Only those who have an enforced lack are seen as deprived - that is those who have lack the item because they cannot afford it. 
of children in Uganda do not have their own bed
The percentage seeing the items for children and households as essential and the percentage lacking these items because the household can’t afford them can be seen in the tables below. The tables are sortable by column.

Child deprivation, Uganda, 2016/17

Child deprivation, Uganda, 2016/17

Child item Essential % Don't have, can't afford %
Own bed 81% 74%
Two pairs of properly-fitting shoes 79% 71%
Presents for children once a year on special occasions 54% 70%
Own blanket 85% 66%
Some new clothes 70% 63%
Books at home for their age 71% 59%
Three meals a day 96% 48%
A desk and chair for homework 55% 45%
Educational toys and games 53% 44%
Bus/taxi fare or other transport 68% 41%
To be able to participate in school trips 69% 38%
All fees, uniforms of correct size and equipment 88% 34%
A visit to the health facility when ill and all prescribed medication 97% 33%
Toiletries to be able to wash every day 93% 29%
Two sets of clothing 94% 17%
Own room for children over 10 of different sexes 76% 17%
Source: Uganda National Household Survey (N= 41,088 children)

Children suffering household deprivation, Uganda, 2016/17

Children suffering household deprivation, Uganda, 2016/17

Household item Essential % Don't have, can't afford %
To be able to make regular savings for emergencies 92% 59%
Enough money to repair a leaking roof for main living quarters 86% 44%
To be able to replace broken pots and pans for cooking 84% 41%
Have your own means of transportation 79% 62%
Enough money to repair or replace any worn-out furniture 78% 66%
Enough money to repair or replace broken electrical goods 56% 66%
Source: Uganda National Household Survey (N= 41,088 children)
Overall, half (56%) of Uganda’s children experience multidimensional deprivations and a low standard of living. They live in households with insufficient financial resources, and are deprived of six or more possessions or activities the majority of Ugandans consider necessary for an adequate standard of living. 
of refugee children living in Uganda don't have their own bed
UNICEF and Cardiff University, working with the Ugandan Bureau of Statistics, have also examined child poverty and deprivation in refugee-hosting areas using the same methodology. This research found consistently higher levels of deprivation among refugee communities than the host communities. 
Over the past fifty years, Uganda has made significant progress in reducing extreme monetary poverty and improving life expectancy. These detailed findings on multidimensional material and social poverty form a core part of the government commitment to meet the SDG goal of reducing by at least half poverty in all its dimensions by 2030.  The recommendations of the research conclude that:

'This will require deliberate efforts to move from measurement to action by integrating multidimensional child  poverty targets in the national development plan, and ultimately revisit the balance between economic and social sector public investments to improve the quality of basic services.'

To address deprivations identified, the following key areas for policy development have been identified:
  • Reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality through: improving the health and nutritional status of mothers and children; increasing access to and utilisation of safe water; promoting sanitation and hygiene; controlling and minimising environmental conditions that negatively affect health-related outcomes; and harnessing non-health sector interventions that have an impact on maternal, new-born and child vulnerability and deaths so that children are healthy and can grow up in safe and clean environments,
  • Provide equitable access to high-quality and child-friendly integrated early childhood development and education programmes and services to all children, supported by trained caregivers and teachers, to enable children to achieve appropriate developmental milestones.
  • Ensure that all children are protected from different forms of abuse and that caregivers, teachers and other adults within the home and other institutions uphold children’s rights, including the right to participate. 
  • Foster the socioeconomic empowerment of families and communities so that they can better support children’s development

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